Chelsea Devine, Ryan Huckabey, Ryan Lieu, Jessica Luttrell, and Ahkeel Whitehead (All SMBA ’19) discuss orientation, volunteer opportunities, guest speakers, and much more!
By Ahkeel Whitehead (SMBA ’19) and Ryan Lieu (SMBA ’19)
In the 2016-2017 academic year, as seniors at SDSU, the two of us got involved with a student organization at San Diego State University called Aztec Adaptive Sports. Their purpose is to ensure that students of all levels of ability have access to fitness and athletic programming, from recreational to elite level, at San Diego State University. About one dozen collegiate adaptive sports programs exist in the United States, but not one of those programs is located in the state of California. Aztec Adaptive Sports is working towards introducing the first college-level adaptive sports program in California.
With the guidance of Dr. Antoinette Domingo, the faculty advisor for Aztec Adaptive Sports, we have transitioned from active members to Directors of this organization. We are currently a part of the Sports MBA class of 2019 cohort, and beyond our coursework, we work hard to continue building the presence of adaptive sports on campus. Our first endeavor after stepping into our new roles was to work with the CEO of ABC Medical, Keith Jones, to host the Aztec Adaptive Sports Showcase.
The purpose of our Showcase was to raise awareness about the potential impact a collegiate adapted athletics program could have on SDSU and the San Diego community at large. The event was divided into two days; January 26th featured a wheelchair dance performance by the Rollettes followed by a presentation by 13 time Paralympic medalist, Dave Kiley. Day one concluded with the screening of the award-winning documentary “The Rebound,” which followed the lives of three wheelchair basketball athletes on their way to a national championship in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.
(Back Row: Aztec Adaptive Sports Officers, Front Row from l to r: Morgan, Dave Kiley, Samantha, and Edna)
On Saturday January 27th , the Showcase moved to Peterson Gym and featured high-level competition by elite athletes competing in sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis, and wheelchair basketball. The wheelchair basketball demonstration included members of the ABC Medical All-Star team, comprised of former University of Alabama Women’s Wheelchair Basketball players who have won five national championships since 2009.
(Above: ABC Medical’s Women’s All-Star Wheelchair Basketball team with Keith Jones) PC: Abraham Arredondo
(CAF Sitting Volleyball team athlete, Patrick Young) PC: Abraham Arredondo
The list of notable athletes that participated in the event includes:
● Katie Holloway: 3x Paralympic medalist, 3x Paralympian, women’s sitting volleyball
● Bethany Zummo: 1x Paralympic medalist, 1x Paralympian, women’s sitting volleyball
● Steve Baldwin: 2x Paralympian, wheelchair tennis
● Anthony Lara: 4x Paralympian, wheelchair tennis
● Lex Gillette: 4x Paralympic medalist, 4x Paralympian, WR holder in Long Jump (T11), Track and Field
● Nick Rogers: 1x Paralympian, Track and Field
(Congresswoman Susan Davis, 53rd District) PC: Abraham Arredondo
The event was attended by Congresswoman Susan Davis of the 53rd district, who addressed the attendees. We also heard from Candace Cable, who was recently appointed as the Vice Chair of the bid for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Many dignitaries from San Diego State University’s administration also attended the event, including Interim SDSU President Sally Roush, Dean Larry Verity of the College of Health and Human Services, and Dean Randy Timm of Associated Students.
(Left to Right: Ryan Lieu (SMBA ’19), Dr. Antoinette Domingo, Dean Larry Verity, Interim President Sally Roush, Ahkeel Whitehead (SMBA ’19) and Keith Jones) PC: Abraham Arredondo
Stay tuned for the next Aztec Adaptive Sports event as we continue to pave the way for California’s first collegiate adapted athletics program.
We are excited to introduce the 14th cohort of SDSU Sports MBA. This cohort has the distinct pleasure of joining us at a time of growth, as we look to capitalize on our international ranking from Sport Business International. Scroll down to see our 28 MBA candidates and read more about their backgrounds and career aspirations.
Pete Abels was born and raised in Aurora, Ontario, Canada. He attended St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia; graduating in May 2014 with a bachelor of business administration degree with a major in accounting. Following graduation, Pete worked towards his CPA designation as an auditor at KPMG, focusing in the energy and natural resource sector. Pete’s true passion has always been sports. He had the opportunity to find his way into the sports industry working as a project and analytics coordinator for an event marketing firm that activated a 15-city, Canada-wide race series sponsored by Canada’s largest national retail drug store. Upon graduating from the Sports MBA program, Pete Intends to pursue a career in the financial operations of a professional team or sporting organization.
Andy Bishop was born in Loma Linda, CA, and raised in Poway, CA, until he was 11. His family then moved to Camino, a small town in Northern California near Sacramento. Andy headed to the Napa Valley for his ungraduate education at Pacific Union College. While there, he discovered his passion for sports broadcasting and storytelling. Andy graduated in 2010 with a 3.6 GPA and degrees in Communication and Business Administration. He immediately moved back down to San Diego and immersed himself in the sports industry. Since then he has worked for such organizations as the San Diego Padres, Major League Baseball, and Fox Sports San Diego. Andy has also performed play-by-play duties for the NFHS Network — a high school sports network — and Cal-State San Marcos’ basketball teams. Recently, he spent a year in Lubbock, TX, as a news reporter and then returned to Northern California for a year. He is excited to be home in the San Diego community to start his Sports MBA at SDSU and see what doors open up in the industry.
Tatijana Bowman, a northern California native, was born in Berkeley and raised in Vacaville. Tatijana graduated from Arizona State University in 2017 with concurrent degrees in Sports and Media Studies and Business Law. During her undergraduate studies, she completed internships with the Oakland Athletics Spring Training and SponsorUnited. She was also active in the Sports Business Scholars and Sports Business Association at Arizona State, where she was exposed to various opportunities to participate in and learn about the rich sports landscape of the Phoenix area. Additionally, Tatijana was a member of the ASU Women’s Club Volleyball team, competing locally as well as nationally. She is a brother in the international business fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, where she served as Merchandise Chair and contributed to the Alumni Newsletter. In her free time, Tatijana regularly volunteered at Lost Our Home Pet Rescue and Feed My Starving Children. She also played on numerous intramural teams, spent a semester teaching a freshman success seminar, and adopted a dog from the shelter at which she volunteered. Following graduation from the program, Tatijana plans to pursue a career in college athletics, although her internships in promotions and sponsorship data continue to hold her interest.
Blair Brewer was born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Waterloo, Canada. He attended the University of Western Ontario, graduating in 2011 with a degree in Business Management, specializing in Finance and Administration. Following his freshman year, Blair captained his junior hockey team for two seasons. During his undergraduate career, Blair secured internships with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). After graduation he worked full time as a Business and Financial Analyst for RBC. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Blair intends to pursue a career in hockey operations or player representation.
Tanner Carrillo-Zazueta was born in San Jose, California and raised in Hollister, California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine in 2017 from Pepperdine University. During his time at Pepperdine, Tanner participated in intramural basketball and served as both the Vice President and Social Events Coordinator for his fraternity, Psi Upsilon. In the summer of 2016, Tanner interned for Legends at Yankee stadium, where he served in their Premium department, working directly in their Legends Club Suite. Since his internship, Tanner has worked as a Customer Service Representative and a Retail Supervisor. Upon graduation from the SMBA program, Tanner intends to pursue a career in sports brand marketing, focusing on brand to athlete relations.
Chelsea Devine, a Seattle native, earned her Bachelors degree in Political Communications from the University of Washington in 2011. During her undergraduate career, Chelsea was an active memer of the Chi Omega Fraternity. Following graduation, Chelsea worked at The Boeing Company-managing procurements of large automated manufacturing cells. Chelsea also had the opportunity to help establish Procurement teams in Charleston, South Carolina and Mesa, Arizona. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Chelsea intends to pursue a career working in Sports Athletic Apparel focusing on Business Development, Marketing, or Endorsements.
Carl Dyer was born in Pomona, California and raised in the city of Chino, California. He graduated from UC San Diego in 2016 with a degree in Management Science. During his time at UC San Diego, Carl interned for the San Diego Sockers, who play at Valley View Casino Center, for two seasons. After graduation, he moved back home and began youth coaching with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In March of 2017, he moved to Sacramento after securing a season-long internship with the corporate partnerships department with the Sacramento River Cats, the triple-a affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Upon graduation from the program, Carl aims to begin a career in soccer operations starting domestic, and eventually moving abroad.
Barde Eseyin was born in Kaduna, Nigeria and raised in Arlington, Texas. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of Texas-Arlington, where he majored in Broadcast Communications and minored in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Spured by his passion for sports, Barde covered a wide range of sporting events such as baseball, boxing, and tennis for UTA News and also hosted a weekly sports radio show on UTA Radio. During his undergraduate course work he acquired media sales skills through a training course he attended at Florida A&M University, he also began working at General Motors where he acted as a Team Leader. A trait he learned from his parents, he has entreprenuership experience from previously owning a small trucking business comprised of two trucks and two drivers which he managed only and currently is active in commercial event planning. Barde has plans to work in front office operations for an NBA organization after graduating the SMBA program.
Mark Hernandez was born and raised in El Paso, TX. In 2017, Mark graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in Sports Management and a minor in Business Administration. While at Texas A&M, Mark worked in the Texas A&M Athletics department as a compliance intern, football operations intern, and student-athlete tutor. While serving as an intern, Mark was able to work with industry professionals such as David Batson, Dennis Polian, Tam Hollingshead, and many players and coaches. Outside of working and school, Mark was a member and assumed leadership roles in several organziations such as the Rotaract chapter, the Themed Entertainment Organization, and Alpha Phi Omega. After graduation from A&M, he spent time working in the banking industry. Upon graduation from San Diego State, Mark hopes to continue his career in collegaite athletics. His eventual goal is to become an Athletic Director at a major university.
Ryan Huckabey was born in Bellingham, WA, and raised in sunny Palm Springs, CA. He started his college career at San Jose State University where he assumed numerous leadership positions in Sigma Nu Fraternity, and later graduated in May 2011 at California State University, San Bernardino, with a degree in Business Administration with a focus in Management and a minor in Marketing. In the sports world, Ryan led the boys soccer program at Kearny High School (San Diego, CA) while coaching at the Junior Varsity and Varsity level from 2006-2008. Additionally, Ryan attended and completed the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau’s Scout School in October 2015. He has spent the majority of his professional career in Casino/Hotel labor management, planning, and analytics, most recently as the Director of Workforce Management at The Excalibur Hotel & Casino, and Manager of Workforce Planning at San Manuel Casino. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Ryan intends to pursue a career in baseball operations, either at the collegiate or professional level.
Rob Jankowski was born and raised in Clinton Township, Michigan. During his junior year at Michigan State University he received an internship with HNTB Corporation, a leading transportation engineering firm. Upon receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering in December 2009, he accepted a full-time position with HNTB in Chicago, Illinois. Rob worked for nine years professionally as an Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineer designing everything from power distribution and lighting systems, to the electronic roadside infrastructure allowing for autonomous vehicles to navigate without drivers. His design and management portfolio includes projects for airports, tunnels, bridges, highways, tollways, international border crossings, and sports facilities. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program Rob intends to pursue a career in sports stadium and arena development, using his technical background and graduate degree in business to become an expert in sports venue planning, design, construction and operations. Rob has played ice hockey his entire life and is also very passionate about European football.
Ryan Lieu was born and raised in San Carlos, California. He attended San Diego State University, graduating in May 2017 with a B.S. in Kinesiology, Pre-PT. During his undergraduate career, Ryan interned at hospitals and physical therapy clinics better understanding the cycle of an athlete from competition to rehabilitation. Towards the end of his undergraduate career, fellow SMBA ’19 cohort member Ahkeel Whitehead introduced Ryan to Aztec Adaptive Sports. His ability to take initiative and attention to detail has made him an integral member in building the first collegiate level adaptive sports program on the west coast. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Ryan intends to continue building an adaptive sports program at San Diego State University and seeing where it takes him.
Tatum Lockett was born and raised in Diamond Bar, California, a suburb in Southern California. Living there her entire life, she was always surrounded by the glory of various sports. Through both her athletic family and love for all sports, she earned an athletic scholarship to the University of California, Riverside where she majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. Tatum served as team captain for her Division I collegiate soccer team. While completing her undergraduate degree and competing on the soccer field, Tatum also worked as a Shift Leader at Jersey Mike’s Subs, interned for The Aspire Group Inc. as a Ticket Sales and Service Apprentice, and was an Assistant Special Events Coordinator for the Athletics Department. Upon her junior year, she worked the annual Black Entertainment Television Music Awards Show and BET Experience weekend for the Ad Sales department of the company. Upon graduation, Tatum intends to pursue a career in the sports industry centering her concentration in corporate event planning and production.
Jessica Luttrell was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Ever the zealous competitive athlete, she fell in love with soccer and was able to play a year of collegiate soccer at Davidson College. Her soccer career was cut short due to injury and decided to transfer to the University of Utah, where she could ski and study simultaneously. She pursued dual degrees in psychology and exercise and sports science with a minor in nutrition and graduated in December 2016. Jessica worked for PEAK Health and Fitness as a fitness coach and as the personal training management coordinator. Her love for fitness did not stop there, as she is also a certified yoga teacher and spin instructor. While during her time as a Ute, she additionally interned as the first and only intramural sports supervisor. This management experience inspired her to reconnect with collegiate athletes and work as a student-athlete academic mentor. When Jessica completes her Sports MBA from SDSU, she can imagine many possible future outcomes, such as staying in college athletics and becoming an athletic director, being involved in a non-profit, or even branching out into the professional sector and working for organizations such as FIFA or Barclays Premier League.
Ryan Maguire was born in Fairbanks, Alaska. He attended the University of Connecticut (UConn), graduating in May 2013 with a Communications degree and a minor in Sociology. While enrolled at UConn, Ryan was a member of the UConn Communications Society, as well as the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, where he held the position of Public Relations Chairman. Following graduation, Ryan worked for two international public relations agencies and has represented major technology clients, including IBM, Schneider Electric, Shure Inc., and Sound United, to name a few. At this point in his career, Ryan has mainly focused on business-to-business technology public relations, but upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Ryan intends to pursue a career working in the athletic department of a major public university.
Cornél Muller was born in Vereeniging, South Africa and raised in Bethlehem, South Africa. In 2006 she graduated from the University of the Free State with a bachelor’s in Human Movement Science with a minor in Business Administration. In 2007, Cornél studied her postgraduate in Sport Science at North West University while she worked with the U/19 Puk rugby team as a conditioning intern. After her studies she worked in Cape Town as a bootcamp instructor, Sport Scientist and gym manager. After that she worked as a PRO and Sports Coordinator and organized the two biggest primary school’s tennis tournaments in South Africa. Amongst that Cornél also had the opportunity to coach with South Africa’s Javelin coach, Terseus Liebenberg. In 2014, Cornel opened a Crossfit and Sports Performance Center and in 2016 she bought the other gym in town. This opportunity is a dream come true and upon graduation from SDSU, Cornél hopes to continue her career in athletics or somewhere in the industry that she is so passionate about.
Michael Nichols was born and raised in Red Bluff, California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus in Accounting from Humboldt State University. While enrolled, he participated in intramural basketball, soccer, and softball. In the Spring of 2016, he was a part of the group that built the foundation of the Accounting and Finance Club on campus, and was the Vice President of the club in the Fall of 2016. Nichols interned with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in the Spring of 2017, which works with students and lower-income families and individuals with the preparation of their income taxes. After graduating, he moved to the Sacramento area for work while applying to SDSU. Upon completing the SMBA program, he intends to pursue a career in either the operations or markting aspect of basketball, baseball, or football, but he’s open to letting this program show him a more clear picture.
Luke Penner was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He attended University of Manitoba, graduating in May 2014 with a degree in Biology and a minor in Kinesiology. After that, he pursued a Master’s degree in Biomechanics, writing his thesis on the “dip” in the basketball jump shot. During his undergraduate and graduate career, Luke coached with many basketball teams, including the University of Manitoba Bison, Linden Christian School Wings, St. Paul’s Crusaders, the Manitoba Provincial team, and the Niagara River Lions (a professional basketball team in Ontario). During his Master’s degree, Luke started studying with the National Coaching Institute in Canada to obtain his Advanced Coaching Diploma. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Luke intends to pursue a career in basketball coaching or operations at the NBA level.
Isaiah Ramsey was born and raised in San Diego, CA but spent a significant portion of his childhood in Yulee, FL, a small town outside of Jacksonville. He attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and a certificate in Sports Management. He spent the majority of his undergraduate career as a pre-medical student with an eye towards becoming a neurologist. This pursuit led him to intern at a hospital, join a pre-medical fraternity, and even go on a Global Medical Brigade to Nicaragua. Through these experiences, however, he learned that he did not share the same passion for health care as his pre-medical peers and decided to shift his focus to a field in which his passion was unmatched – the sports industry. He has accumulated a number of experiences in the field including working as an Intramural Basketball Coordinator at UCSB, as a Sports Monitor for the City of Santa Barbara, and as an intern for the UCSB Athletics office as well as for both the UCSB Women’s Basketball and the Santa Barbara City College Men’s Basketball teams. He also served as the Head Fr/Soph Basketball Coach at a local high school during his time in Santa Barbara. Upon completion of the Sports MBA program, Isaiah intends to pursue a career in basketball operations at the collegiate or professional level.
Lauren Rojo was born and raised in Whittier, California. She received her bachelors degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management from San Francisco State University with a minor in business Administration. While earning
her degree she served as Auction manager for the largest fundraiser on campus, Taste of the Bay, where she raised $19,000. Lauren was also selected to represent her department in New York, where she competed in an international market study two years in a row, placing 2nd in 2015 and 1st in 2016, among 25 other universities. She served as the Guest Service’s intern for the San Francisco Giants during the 2016 season, where she learned the intricacies of a major league baseball stadium. Once completing her bachelors degree in May of 2017, she interned for Pantone 294, an international travel organization for Dodger fans. Upon graduation from the SMBA program, Lauren hopes to find a career within baseball analytics.
Shushi Shiraga was born in Osaka, Japan and raised in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Policy Studies with a focus in Sports Policy from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. While enrolled, he participated in the American football team Doshisha Wild Rover as an Analysis Staff and studied football strategies. In his Junior and Senior year, he worked at multiple sports related business such as a local semi-pro American football team and sports marketing agency Octagon Worldwide as an intern. After his graduation from the school, he started working at a telecommunication start-up company in Tokyo Japan. In his second year, Shushi was relocated to San Diego Office by the CEO’s order, and managed the Operations Department. In his 5th year in the company, he was promoted to the VP and became responsible to oversee the entire San Diego office. He broke multiple office records, and also achieved profitable months which never happened during the managements prior. Despite the financial and operational improvements he brought to the office, the Tokyo Headquarter decided to close the US Subsidiary. Shushi then decided to proceed towards his ambition of founding a successful professional American football league in Japan, and enrolled to San Diego State University Sports MBA program. Upon graduation from SDSU Sports MBA, he aims to work in the NFL and learn from the best in sports business.
Brandon Sim was born and raised in El Segundo California. In 2017, he graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills with a degree in Business Administration-Finance. At CSUDH, Brandon upheld a 3.9 GPA and was a leading member of the Business Department Scholars student organization tasked with coordinating networking opportunities between Dean’s List students and respected businesses. During his schooling, Brandon also accumulated 4+ years of restaurant management experience at both the corporate and private levels. Post-graduation, Brandon managed paid-media and coordinated events for an up-and-coming digital marketing startup focused on equity crowdfunding. At CrowdfundX, he had the pleasure of working on projects involved in the Fatburger IPO, the Elio Motors raise of $17 million, and the first Regulation A+ campaign to list to the NYSE (Myomo). Although Brandon has watched from the sidelines during his professional career thus far, the Sports MBA program gives him the opportunity to finally pursue his dream of working within baseball or basketball operations at the professional level.
Payton Wells was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and raised in Brighton, Colorado. She attended Southern Utah University, graduating in December 2017 with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Management. During her undergraduate career, Payton played Division 1 Women’s Soccer for Southern Utah University as a starter and captain for the team. During the off-season Payton completed internships with Rubin Postaer and Associates in 2016 and Lochness Medical INC in 2017. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Payton intends to pursue a career within the sports industry, focusing on community relations or marketing.
Johnny Weng was born in Nanjing, China, and raised in the beautiful Bay Area. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2015 with a degree in Business Management Economics. Since graduating, he has worked in hotel accounting, as a business operations analyst for Oracle, and as a ticket coordinator for the now defunct professional soccer team, San Francisco Deltas. Growing up, Johnny was always involved in sports, both mainstream and niche. He has worked as a coach in basketball and as a counselor for circus arts. Upon graduation, Johnny hopes to use his experience to pursue work in international youth and player development. Johnny also has a great passion for fitness and human performance, and will seek to work with sports teams at all levels, both amateur and professional.
A Bay Area native, Derek White spent his undergraduate years as a student-athlete at UC Berkeley, representing their successful Track and Field program in the Discus and Hammer throwing events while earning both Conference and National recognition. Academically he focused his studies on psychology, placing an emphasis on mental performance and well-being. Upon graduating in 2014, Derek procured the credential of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and acquired an athletic performance internship with UC Berkeley. Additionally, Derek spent time as an assistant track and field coach with Saint Mary’s College High School. Concluding his internship with Rugby, Water Polo and Track & Field, Derek continued to pursue his passion for health and wellness as a Fitness Manager and Project Director in San Francisco. After completion of the Sports MBA program, Derek hopes to explore career opportunities with the USOC, Collegiate Athletic Administration and non-profit sports organizations.
Greg White was born in Flint, Michigan, and raised in the Detroit Metropolitan Area and Central Illinois. He graduated from Colgate University in 2015 with a degree in Political Science. During his time at Colgate University, Greg participated in intramural soccer and club soccer, and worked as the Video Coordinator for the Colgate University Football Team. After graduation, Greg moved to California to work for SoFi, where he helped build the workforce management team as well as be involved in data analytics. He has worked as a high school swim coach, and in April 2017, began working as a Compliance Coordinator for a subsidiary of United Airlines. Upon graduation, Greg hopes to use his expertise to pursue a career in youth soccer development across major US cities and worldwide.
Ahkeel Whitehead was born and raised in San Diego, California. He attended San Diego State University, graduating in May 2017 with a degree in Kinesiology. During his undergraduate career, Ahkeel was a world class Paralympic Track and Field athlete while also maintaining a 3.0 GPA as a full time student. As an athlete, Ahkeel earned 13 national titles, 4 American Records, and is the fastest ambulatory athlete with Cerebral Palsy in U.S history. At the 2016 Paralympic games Ahkeel achieved the title Paralympian and finished 11th in the world in the 100m T37 Cerebral Palsy division. While not training, Ahkeel coached at multiple T&F clinics throughout the nation for both able bodied and adaptive athletes, he has interned at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center as a weight room assistant, and was an assistant coach for boy’s and girl’s Varsity basketball at Monarch; a school for the homeless youth in San Diego. Currently Ahkeel is the Program Director of student organization called Aztec Adaptive Sports; their purpose is to start the first collegiate adaptive sports program in California at San Diego State University. Upon graduation from Sports MBA, Ahkeel plans to continue his work in San Diego helping homeless youth and youth with disabilities reach college and participate in athletic programming through his family foundation.
Yawen You was born and raised in Hunan, China. She attended the Beijing Jiaotong University, graduating in June 2014 with a degree in Law. She was a student athlete of CUVA( China University Volleyball Association). Also evaluated as the second level athlete in China. Yawen has won the 4th place in National University Volleyball league with Beijing Jiaotong University Volleyball team. After graduating, she was working on business law field as a lawyer assistant as well as an insurance counselor which requires her legal background. Upon graduation from the Sports MBA program, Yawen intents to pursue a career in basketball or football operations especially focusing on development in international exchanges and cooperation in sports industry.